Thatscricket - News - Sehwag slams 6th fastest On-day century
Published: Friday, August 3, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Sehwags stunner takes India into final
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Colombo: Virender Sehwag smashed the sixth fastest century in One-dayers to power India into the triangular cricket series final with a seven-wicket victory over New Zealand on Thursday.The make-shift Indian opener struck 19 fours and one six in his maiden 69-ball hundred as India surpassed a stiff New Zealand total of 264 for seven with 26 balls to spare. India will meet Sri Lanka in the final on Sunday.Sehwag, 22, upstaged New Zealand opener Nathan Astle, who scored an impressive 108 for his second century against India in this tournament and 11th overall.He then made his opening partner and skipper Saurav Ganguly look like a virtual spectator during a 143-run stand with his hard and clean hitting. Ganguly (64) came into the picture only after Sehwag's dismissal, bowled off an inside-edge in Craig McMillan's first over.The Indian skipper, Rahul Dravid (57 not out off 55 balls) and Hemang Badani (35 not out off 38 balls) capitalised on the advantage given by Sehwag, a middle-order batsman playing as an opener in the absence of an injured Sachin Tendulkar.His assault on the New Zealand bowling began in the sixth over when he hammered fast bowler Kyle Mills for four boundaries. There was no stopping him after that as he reduced the New Zealand bowlers and fielders to a state of helplessness with his consistent big-hitting.Man-of-the-match Sehwag struck seven consecutive boundaries one off the last ball of fast bowler Darryl Tuffey's fifth over, two in Dion Nash's opening over and four in Tuffey's sixth over. Then came a rare dot ball, which was followed by a straight six off Tuffey, who conceded 22 in that over. Sehwag raced to his half-century off just 29 balls with 12 fours and then took 40 more deliveries to reach the three-figure mark. He fell immediately after completing his century, but not before putting his team in a strong position with his explosive batting.New Zealand also was indebted to its opener for posting a challenging total as Astle dominated the Indian bowling with a wide range of strokes.He shared a 138-run stand for the second wicket with skipper Stephen Fleming (66) in a match to decide the finalists. Astle struck nine boundaries in his 143-ball knock and Fleming seven in his 26th half-century to set the stage for the closing-overs onslaught.Lou Vincent then made merry and hit two sixes and three fours in his 37-ball 45 as New Zealand, who won the toss and elected to bat, plundered 82 runs in their last 10 overs.A seven-man Indian attack was under severe pressure during the Astle-Fleming stand. The Indian fielding also left a lot to be desired as Astle, Fleming and then Vincent often converted ones into twos. Off spinner Harbhajan Singh, India's main weapon in their previous matches, had a rare off day and hardly troubled the New Zealand batsmen.Left-arm fast bowler Ashish Nehra was the most impressive of the Indian bowlers, finishing with three for 30 off his nine overs.Astle and Fleming exposed India's bowling limitations on an easy-paced pitch with their disciplined batting after the early dismissal of opener Matthew Sinclair.Sehwag then gave New Zealand a dose of its own medicine with a strokeful century.